Fantasy Touches & Targets: Todd Gurley dominates

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  • By Matt Franciscovich and Matt Harmon NFL.com
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Look kids, it's Week 16. You don't need to know about running back touches and wide receiver targets for every single player on every single team, because this was pretty much it. Championship week. All the marbles. And if you play in Week 17, I mean, we'll still be here, but don't be doing that. So we're going to change up the format here. Matt Harmon and Matt Franciscovich will deliver some highlights, some lowlights and some unexpected performances, which we believe shall suffice. If your fantasy running back or pass-catcher isn't mentioned in the recap below, then that player probably didn't do anything spectacular/egregious on Saturday/Sunday/Monday. (Fantasy point totals calculated via NFL dot com standard scoring.)

*NOTE: This article will be updated with data from the Sunday Night and Monday Night games the following day, so check back for more information as games wrap.

WEEK 16 RUNNING BACKS


AS EXPECTED

Writing about good players performing well doesn't really move the needle. So in the hopes of keeping this brief. Here's a glance at some stud fantasy running backs that simply did their job for fantasy owners in Week 16.

Todd Gurley - 39.6 fantasy points: Life as a Todd Gurley owner in fantasy is a good one. The Rams running back scored two more touchdowns on Sunday against the Titans and amassed 276 yards from scrimmage on 32 touches in the game. He led the Rams in every receiving category with 10 catches on 13 targets for 158 yards, and scored his two touchdowns through the air. He added 118 rush yards. It's been an unbelievable season, and a even better fantasy playoff stretch for Gurley as he's piled up eight total touchdowns and 571 total yards in the last three games. He'll be the favorite for the No. 1 overall pick in redraft leagues next season.

Melvin Gordon - 18.8 fantasy points: When it comes to Melvin Gordon, the one thing you could count on all season is volume. He came through again in Week 16, logging 22 touches for 128 total yards and found the end zone for the third straight game. There's not much else to say here.

Kareem Hunt - 16.6 fantasy points: Kareem Hunt! We're saying it again! After toughing out a mid-season slump, Hunt has been a true RB1 for fantasy managers when they needed him the most the last three weeks. He recorded 33 touches against the Dolphins on Sunday. Hunt found the end zone for the third-straight game and piled up 106 total yards. He's legitimately bookended his stellar rookie season and has now logged 25, 24 and 29 carries in consecutive contests. He should finish 2017 as a top-five fantasy running back in standard scoring.

LeSean McCoy - 14.7 fantasy points: The Bills were blown out by the Patriots in Week 16, but LeSean McCoy didn't seem to mind. He led Buffalo in rushing (obviously) and receiving posting over 70 yards in both categories. And while Shady didn't find the end zone, his 147 yards on 22 touches should suffice in your RB1 slot for the fantasy championship.

Jordan Howard - 16.4 fantasy points: After a dud in Week 15, Jordan Howard bounced back against the Browns. The Bears workhorse had just 44 rush yards on 22 carries but he fell into the end zone twice, which is always a welcome sight for fantasy owners. Howard's fantasy output has spiked and dipped along with the Chicago offense all season, so he's been an inconsistent asset but has put up two big games in the last three weeks. Right now, Howard has enough total fantasy points on the season to rank as a top-10 running back in standard leagues.

Ezekiel Elliott - 11.8 fantasy points: You probably expected more than 11 points from Zeke given, if you started him, you likely waited out his long six-week suspension. But he did it all with his yardage, 118 total scrimmage yards, against the Seahawks. Considering how stagnant the Dallas offense was the entire game, Zeke's performance should suffice in your championship lineup. The good news is that he toted the rock 24 times, a huge workload. He has a tough matchup against the Eagles in Week 17, but at that point, what do you have to lose?

BUSTS

Chances are, you started these running backs in your fantasy league in Week 16. And if you did, chances are you didn't do very well or are just scraping by. Sorry about your luck.

Devonta Freeman - 3.6 fantasy points: A rough go for Devonta Freeman on Sunday might have squashed your fantasy hopes and dreams. The Falcons' offense struggled on the road and Freeman logged just 13 touches for 56 total yards. A lost fumble on the goal-line really busted his day, as a potential six-point play turned into a negative on the fantasy scoreboard. He had scored in two straight games heading into Sunday but literally dropped the ball for fantasy managers looking for a title in Week 16. As much as you don't want to hear it, Tevin Coleman scored the Falcons only touchdown of the game.

Kenyan Drake - 5.7 fantasy points: The Dolphins' running back had been an absolute stud for fantasy owners over the last month and based on volume potential alone was a must-start against the Chiefs. But Kenyan Drake, who played on 94 percent of Miami's snaps on Sunday, came up short with just 57 total yards (all rushing). It's a tough one to swallow for sure, but based on the overall lack of production for the Miami Dolphins' offense, a game like this was inevitable. Bad timing, bro.

Alex Collins - 6.6 fantasy points: Alex Collins had been a stud for a solid month heading into the fantasy playoffs, and he had a big Week 14 against the Steelers. But his last two games have been disappointing. Considering he touched the ball 21 times on Saturday in a favorable matchup against the Colts, Collins' 66 total yards was a huge letdown. He's averaged 2.2 yards per carry over the last two weeks and has sunk your fantasy lineup with consecutive single-digit outings.

Alvin Kamara - 9 fantasy points: For Alvin Kamara's standards, nine fantasy points in standard scoring might be considered a bust. It's borderline greedy, but Kamara totaled just 70 yards Sunday against the Falcons. But for PPR managers, the rookie did rack up seven receptions which should be enough to get you by. If you're wondering, Mark Ingram totaled 66 scrimmage yards and scored a rushing touchdown. It wasn't one of those dominant games we've grown used to for the Saints backfield, but again, we're getting a tad greedy here.

SURPRISES

Here's a look at some players you've probably never heard of, and some guys who had performances we didn't see coming from Week 16.

Giovani Bernard - 22.8 fantasy points: With Joe Mixon active for the first time in two weeks, folks who had relied on Giovani Bernard the last few games seemed out of luck. But Mixon ended up leaving the game with an ankle injury and Bernard became the feature back once again. A 30-touch game by Bernard resulted in 168 total yards and a touchdown, marking his second-straight game with a trip to the end zone and his third-straight double-digit fantasy game.

Bilal Powell - 20.5 fantasy points: You probably didn't think you'd be able to lean on a Jets running back to win you a fantasy football title, but if you rolled with Bilal Powell on Sunday you're looking at a potential victory. Powell rushed for 145 yards on his 19 carries and ripped off two huge runs of 41 and 57 yards the latter of which was also a touchdown play. The New York backfield has been frustrating all season, but Powell was the star on Sunday.

Mike Gillislee - 10.3 fantasy points: A healthy scratch for nearly two months, Mike Gillislee suited up for the Patriots on Sunday to face his former team, the Bills. With Rex Burkhead out due to a knee injury, Gillislee played second fiddle to Dion Lewis. He rushed for 28 yards on six carries and scored on a predictable goal-line plunge. True revenge. Meanwhile, Lewis was the Patriots' lead back and logged 29 carries for 153 yards and a touchdown of his own. While the Patriots have rotated four backs all season, their performances have actually been predictable for the most part.

Matt Breida - 14.2 fantasy points: Against the Jaguars, Matt Breida logged 11 touches for 82 total yards and scored a touchdown on a 30-yard run with less than two minutes to play. He's mentioned here in the "surprises" category because he technically outscored his teammate, Carlos Hyde. Hyde had 73 total yards and a score of his own resulting in 13.3 points, so if you started him, you should be fine.

T.J. Yeldon - 13.7 fantasy points: T.J. Yeldon finished Week 16 with 12 touches, including a team-leading seven receptions. He logged 77 total yards and found the end zone on a goal-line run late in the game. Technically, Yeldon outscored his teammate, Leonard Fournette by 0.3 fantasy points, but that margin was bigger if you play in a PPR format. Both backs scored touchdowns, but Fournette's outing (18/48/1) was inefficient and somewhat disappointing.

As expected


Business as usual for these players, for the most part. No need to strongly react to the performances of this group of pass-catchers but their lines may just affect their teammates' fantasy outlooks.

Robert Woods

8 targets, 3 catches, 33 yards

The final product wasn't great with just 33 yards, but Robert Woods has seven and eight targets over his first two games back from a multi-week injury absence. He finished second on the team in Week 16, trailing only Gurley's 13 targets. Woods is clearly entrenched as this team's top wideout.

Antonio Gates

8 targets, 6 catches, 81 yards, TD

With Hunter Henry on IR and out of the mix, Antonio Gates stepped up to handle eight targets, trailing only Kennan Allen among Chargers pass-catchers in Week 16. The Chargers tight end position is a goldmine when it's just one player inhabiting the workload.

Tyreek Hill

7 targets, 6 catches, 109 yards

Tyreek Hill has 75 yards and/or a touchdown in each of his last four games. He's now over 1,100 yards in his first year truly playing the wide receiver position on a down-to-down basis. It was an incredible step forward for Hill, and the questions for 2018 will only surround whether he will see an increase in volume. He's proven more than capable of excelling as a traditional wideout.

Surprises


We didn't see these performances coming. Can you trust some of the stat lines these pass-catchers produced? Let's dig into their volume totals to decide how we ought to react.

Eric Ebron

8 targets, 5 catches, 83 yards, TD

Eric Ebron's Week 16 line is a surprise because he's Eric Ebron but it's not surprising considering his recent usage. The Lions tight end has target totals of 11, seven and eight over his last three games. He had not cleared seven in any game prior to Week 14. Debate will rage this offseason as to whether this was a legitimate turning of the corner for Ebron or just a December mirage.

Corey Davis

9 targets, 6 catches, 91 yards

The No. 5 overall pick in the draft turned in a season-high 91 yards against the Rams. It was mostly a lost rookie season for Corey Davis amid layers of injuries while playing on a morbid Titans offense. Finishing the season with two strong games in a row would go a long way to building some momentum for the talented young receiver's second season.

Josh Doctson

13 targets, 2 catches, 61 yards, TD

Josh Doctson hit a season-high in targets by a long shot, nearly doubling his previous high-mark of seven. He only managed to secure two catches on a wild 13 targets, but made them count with a 48-yard touchdown. Doctson has flashed some major big-play ability in what is essentially his first season of true NFL action. He will be a popular breakout candidate in 2018, but there will be questions regarding Kirk Cousins' status and how much volume Doctson can earn in a passing game that spreads the ball around.

Keelan Cole

13 targets, 6 catches, 108 yards

Keelan Cole continued to maintain momentum as the Jaguars top receiver. He led the team with 13 targets and once again cleared 100 receiving yards. Cole has gone over the century mark and/or scored a touchdown in each of the last four games. Fellow talented rookie Dede Westbrook still had solid volume with seven targets but Cole has run ahead of him the last two weeks.

Chris Godwin

6 targets, 3 catches, 98 yards

DeSean Jackson missed this game and Chris Godwin stepped up to lead the team in wide receiver playing time (82 percent) and rack up 98 yards. Godwin posted a combined 16 targets in the two games where Mike Evans or Jackson did not play. He should see his role grow in his second season and will likely earn some sleeper consideration.

T.Y. Hilton

12 targets, 6 catches, 100 yards

T.Y. Hilton hit a season-high 12 targets for a 100-yard outing on Saturday. Wide receivers have stung the Ravens badly with Jimmy Smith out of the mix. Hilton had not hit 100 yards since the first week of November, and didn't clear 55 yards in any week in between. Hopefully, Andrew Luck will return next season and stabilize Hilton's weekly output.

Busts


These big-name players failed to perform up to season-long expectations this week. For some, their volume should leave you with hope. For others, the outlook is now a bit bleak.

Josh Gordon

8 targets, 2 catches, 19 yards

You couldn't be too surprised with this line from Josh Gordon, given his quarterback's recent play and the weather conditions in the game, but 19 yards was a double-down disappointment of his Week 15 performance. If Gordon is back in Cleveland next year, his volume from this season (nine targets per game) gives hope that he'll be a big part of the offense.

Adam Thielen

6 targets, 2 catches, 24 yards

Adam Thielen was the steal of fantasy drafts this summer but has been a major disappointment here as the season comes to an end with fewer than 60 receiving yards combined over his last two games. Thielen has been a victim of the Vikings hardly needing to offer much effort to earn wins over the Bengals and Packers. Case Keenum hasn't hit 30 pass attempts in either of the team's previous two contests.

Kendall Wright

6 targets, 4 catches, 27 yards

Such a line was always in the range of outcomes for Kendall Wright. He crashed down to earth after seeing 24 targets in his previous two games combined. His six targets still led the Bears this week but just didn't amount to much production. Wright and the Bears finish with a tough matchup against the Vikings in Week 17.

Brandin Cooks

5 targets, 2 catches, 19 yards

After looking like he had finally turned into a consistent producer in the middle of this season, Brandin Cooks is finishing the year as volatile as ever. The Patriots wideout has two or fewer catches in three of his last four games. Come August, just remember what the journey was like to get to the final numbers for Cooks on the season.

Michael Thomas

5 targets, 4 catches, 66 yards

Michael Thomas hit a season-low five targets against the Falcons. Of course, we should remember he came in highly questionable with a hamstring injury. Thomas came into this contest with a touchdown in three-straight weeks.

Devin Funchess

4 targets, 3 catches, 11 yards

Devin Funchess is finishing his 2017 breakout season with a whimper, combing for four catches in the last two games. He does appear to be playing through a shoulder injury, which may be contributing to his slow finish.

Marquise Goodwin

6 targets, 3 catches, 37 yards

Marquise Goodwin still led the team in targets but his six were the lowest he's had in any game since Jimmy Garoppolo took over as the starter. This was a tough matchup and you could see this one coming. However, the fact that he was the most-targeted player on the team gives optimism he shouldn't see too much of a decline in his role in the final week of the season.

Sterling Shepard

8 targets, 5 catches, 45 yards

Shepard disappointed in the box score but still saw a solid eight targets. When healthy, the second-year pro has mostly held a solid role and thrived as a player. He will enter 2018 as a popular breakout candidate but the Giants offense will likely have gone through significant changes by then.

-- Follow Matt Harmon on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB and Matt Franciscovich @MattFranchise.

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